Monday, June 19, 2017

Native North America Gathering 08/08/17 (Toronto)

Featuring live performances from...

Duke Redbird
Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback
Willy Mitchell
Lawrence Martin with Vern Cheechoo
Lloyd Cheechoo
Eric Landry
Leland Bell
Brian Davey
John Angaiak
Alexis Utatnaq

With MC: 
Brian Wright-McLeod (The Encyclopedia of Native Music)

And film:
The Ballad of Crowfoot (Willie Dunn, NFB, 1968)

August 8, 2017

Doors 7 pm / Show 8 pm

Trinity-St. Paul’s (427 Bloor Street West, Toronto)

Tickets available at the following link

We respectfully acknowledge that this event will take place on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinabek, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation

Presented by Gladeye, Voluntary In Nature, and Revolutions Per Minute (

In second half of the 20th century, Indigenous musicians from across North America made their voices heard like never before. Inspired, informed, and contributing to the global explosion of youth culture, they combined words, poetry, art, film, and music to reflect a wide range of Native issues and experience: the balance and transition of traditional and modern life, language preservation, views on the land, family, love, spirituality, and the effects of colonialism. The disturbing events that unfolded at Wounded Knee in 1973 was one unfortunate catalyst for awareness, identity, protest, and change, but there was a new soundtrack coming from within the Indigenous communities during this era, provided by talented singer-songwriters like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Alanis Obomsawin, Willie Dunn, and their peers. These artists didn’t mince their words. They made their voices heard loud and clear: We are Native! We are Proud! These are our truths! The time is now! Their inspiration was monumental to those both inside and outside of the various Indigenous communities of Turtle Island.

Still, without industry or mass media support to help transmit these messages, a determined artist had to work extremely hard to have their songs recorded to tape. Fewer would have their recordings pressed to vinyl and distributed. Either self-released or with the assistance of an established label, cultural organization, or national broadcaster like the CBC, a number of long playing albums and seven inch singles did hit the marketplace. They were mostly sold off of the stage at gigs, in convenience stores or at Native friendship centers, and occasionally at the odd mom and pop record shop. Whether the artists were aware at the time, their music began to travel. Over the years, they provided an essential document of this decisive era to listeners lucky enough to hear them and laid the groundwork for today’s vital Indigenous music scene. Though initially marginalized through mainstream exclusion, regional focus, geographic isolation, racism, and music industry short-sightedness, these artists are now being heard by an expanded global audience in 2017.

Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985 is a Grammy nominated 3-LP/2-CD/digital compilation of thirty-four landmark Indigenous recordings. Accompanied by an extensive liner notes book featuring biographies, archival images, and lyric transcriptions and translations, the collection was released by Seattle/Los Angeles-based Light in the Attic Records in November of 2014 after five years of production by music historian Kevin Howes (Voluntary In Nature). On Tuesday, August 8th, 2017, many of the box set’s veteran singers, songwriters, poets, musicians, and storytellers will gather from across Turtle Island for a once-in-a-lifetime concert celebration in cooperation with Gladeye, VIN, and RPM. Please help us to honour these legendary creators whose messages of love, awareness, and community have forever changed the musical landscape. Let’s continue to make it known!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Passing traffic

Today, I felt very MOR, which stands for "middle-of-the-road."
This term often refers to an outdated musical style popular in the 1970s or a related radio format, but earlier this afternoon, something compelled me to actually stand in the middle of the road.
Surveying the landscape, I decided to face west.
To my left, a stream of cars, bikes, and trucks cruised past...
On my right, a flow of vehicles sailed by...
I stood on top of a painted yellow line, holding my breath, and paused for a second.
I breathed in even more, exhaust and air combined, as much as my lungs could take.
Then I began to exhale, very slowly, much slower than the pace of the passing traffic.
I had nothing in my hands, nor was I seeking anything specific.
This is simply where I decided to position myself on another grey Vancouver day.